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Why India’s numbers on air quality can’t betrusted

为何印度发布的空气质量数据不可靠



A survey this May by the World HealthOrganisation ranked Delhias the world's most polluted city, under assault from its growing vehiclepopulation, rising emissions from coal based thermal power plants and the surroundingareas. The outcome: according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB),which oversees pollution control in India, 43.5 per cent of children inthe Capital have reduced lung function and breathing problems.

www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网世界卫生组织今年5月份公布的一份调查将德里列为世界上受污染最为严重的城市,日益增多的车辆、燃煤热电厂和周边地区的排放物共同侵袭着这座城市。结果就是:根据印度污染防治监督机构中央污染控制委员会,首都新德里43.5%的儿童出现了肝功能衰退和呼吸问题。

It could be, it probably is, worse as the WHO findings are largely based onofficial numbers. And India'sair-quality numbers, in how they are measured, are a pretence in the name ofprotecting citizens.

但情况可能更糟,因为世界卫生组织的调查结果很大程度上是基于官方发布的数据。就测量方法来说,印度的空气质量数据是以保护公民的名义公布的假数据。

An illustration of this is India'sexperience in measuring PM 2.5: airborne particles less than 2.5 microns insize. Small enough to penetrate deep into our lungs and bloodstreams, they havebeen connected to lung cancer and heart attacks. Studies show there is no safelevel of PM 2.5, though CPCB terms as "safe" readings up to 60 ig/m3.On October 12, a Sunday, between 3 pm and 4 pm, ITO in New Delhi had a PM 2.5 reading of 206.

www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网印度测量PM 2.5数值的过程就是一个例证:大气中悬浮尘粒的体积小于2.5微米,这个体积足以让尘粒进入人的肺部和血液,而这与肺癌和心脏病有关联性。研究表明,PM 2.5指数是没有安全值的,但中央污染控制委员会却标出60 ig/m3的安全指数。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网12月12号这个周日下午的3点至4点之间,新德里国际技术官员获得的PM 2.5数值是206。

In 2009, the ministry of environment and CPCB directed state governments totrack PM 2.5. What happened next is one reason why India's air-quality data cannot betrusted.

2009年,印度环境部门和中央污染控制委员会指导政府追踪PM 2.5指数。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网而接下来的事情就是导致印度空气质量数据不可信的原因之一。

Race To The Bottom

打到底线的竞争

In 2009, hardly any companies manufactured PM 2.5 instruments in India. Called'high-volume samplers', these suck in a fixed quantity of air and eliminate allbut the 2.5 particles. "Till 2009, we used to sell about 10-30 instrumentsa year, mostly to research organisations," says Rakesh Agarwal, managingdirector of Envirotech, one of the first companies in this space in India.

2009年,印度几乎没有制造测量PM 2.5仪器的公司。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网这种被称作“大容量采样器”的仪器会吸入定量的空气并排出除了直径为 2.5 微米颗粒物以外的一切东西。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网拉凯什·阿加瓦尔(Rakesh Agarwal)说,“到2009年,我们每年约能卖出10至30件仪器,大多数是卖给研究机构的”。拉凯什·阿加瓦尔是一家环境技术公司的总经理,该公司是印度率先涉足该领域的公司之一。

That changed with the PM 2.5 directive. Asa market for 2.5 samplers emerged, new companies, mostly started byex-employees of companies like Envirotech, came up.

随着官方下达PM 2.5监督指令,情况就有所改变。由于颗粒物采样器迎来了需求市场,新的公司纷纷成立,这些公司大多数是由环境技术此类公司的前雇员成立的。

Price warfare began. In 2009, Agarwal says,the price of a good instrument was Rs 1.5 lakh, the best ones cost Rs. 2-2.5lakh. By 2010 itself, "the price fell to Rs 60,000," says a formerCPCB official who now runs his own environmental consultancy and spoke on thecondition of anonymity. "Some of the newer companies do not even have aproduction facility," adds Rajkumar Singh, AGM (marketing, environment) atSpectro Lab Equipments, an Okhla-based company which makes samplers. "Theygo to lathe makers, give them the specs and ask them to make thesemachines."

于是,价格战开始了。阿加瓦尔说,2009年优良级别仪器的售价是15万卢比,而上乘级别的售价为20万至25万卢比之间。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网一名不愿透露姓名的中央控制污染委员会前任官员现在经营着自己的环境咨询公司,他说,“到2010年,价格降到了6万。www.58222.com_【官方首页】-皇冠国际现金网供职于斯派克实验设备的Rajkumar Singh 补充说,“一些后来成立的公司甚至没有生产设备,他们找到机床制造商,让他们按说明书生产这些仪器”。

Although the government mandates companies to adhere to specifications definedby the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), India doesn't have standards of itsown, it doesn't check if these samplers measure what they claim to.Manufacturers self-certify.

虽然政府要求各公司严格按照美国环境保护局给出的规格生产,但印度还是没有自己的标准,印度并不会检查这些取样器是否达到了标准,这一切都是由制造商自行担保。

Agarwal cites a check the CPCB undertookabout two and-a-half years ago, when it compared some India-made PM 2.5samplers with international ones. "There was a 100 per cent difference inreadings," says Agarwal. Some were leaking air from the sides, others wereletting in lesser air than stipulated. "If I expect the air input to be 20litres per minute, but get just 16 litres, my PM 2.5 count will be lower."

阿加瓦尔举了中央污染控制委员会在两年半前检查仪器的例子,该委员会将印度产的PM 2.5取样器拿来与国际生产标准作对比。阿加瓦尔说,“两个取样器上显示的数值有天壤之别”。有些取样器出现气体侧漏现象,还有些取样器采集的气体量少于规定的标准,“如果我希望每分钟有20公升的进气量,但实际进气量却只有16公升,这样我获得的PM2.5数值就会低于实际数值”。

"When a machine says it is capturing PM 2.5, we are not sure whether it isreally doing that," says KM George, a senior scientist at the Delhi PollutionControl Committee (DPCC).

德里环境污染控制委员会高级研究员KM George 说,“当仪器显示了PM 2.5数值,我们并不确定是否可靠”。



Data Manipulation

数据操作

The patterns seen in PM 2.5, of cut-throat competition and non-existentcertification, resulting in companies cutting corners, are also at play in theother two technologies used to measure air quality: 'wet chemistry' and, morerecently, higher end, imported 'continuous monitoring (CM) units'.

PM 2.5采集仪器行业间恶性竞争和无证模式导致公司的投机取巧,而被用来测量空气质量的两种技术也存在这种情况:“湿式化学法”和新近引进的更高端技术“连续监测单位”

Today, the CPCB operates CM units in four cities and collaborates with statepollution control boards (SPCBs) in 12 other cities.

如今,中央污染控制委员会在4个城市使用连续监测单位技术并与国家污染防治委员会在其他12个城市展开了合作。

In practice, neither SPCBs nor industry hasthe incentive to report completely and accurately.

事实上,中央污染控制委员会和行业部门都没有提供完全准确报告的动机。

"Every time readings spike, we receiveParliament questions," says a senior DPCC official, on the condition ofanonymity. "It's why states don't share their data or use theirinstruments."

德里污染防治委员会一名不愿透露姓名的高级官员说,“每当数值飙升,我们就会收到议会的质疑,这就是国家不公开数据或使用仪器的原因”。

Delhi'semission numbers are the worst among cities that collect air-quality data inreal time. Of the 10 pollutants, Delhi'scount is the highest on five, second highest on three and third highest on two.It's worse than Kanpur, or Chandrapur, one of India'scritically polluted areas.

在实时采集空气质量数据时,德里的排放数值是各大城市中最糟的。在10大排放的污染物中,德里5项排名第一,3项排名第二,2项排名第三,这比印度的重污染区坎普尔还要差。

One way to report lower numbers, says theDPCC official, is by only reporting averages, where the peaks and troughsaverage out.

德里污染防治委员会的官员说,上报较低数值的一个方法是只报平均值,取最高值和最低值的平均数。

Others present outdated data. For instance, Orissa only has 2006 data on itswebsite. Gujarat gives an annual average. Maharashtra's SPCB gives daily readings, but only for fourpollutants and only till July.

其他方式是提交过时的数据。比如,奥丽萨邦的网站上就只有2006年的数据,古吉拉特邦则取年平均值,马哈拉施特拉邦提交的是每日的数据,但只有四种污染物在7月份之前的数据。

A similar set of perverse incentives works in industry. In the early-1990s, thegovernment first asked industrial units to install air-quality measuring units."It should have made it clear then that no company would be prosecuted onthe basis of this data," says Agarwal of Envi rotech. Instead, the role ofSPCBs gradually changed from a scientific function to an inspecting one.

类似的反向刺激举动也存在于行业中。在20世纪90年代早期,是政府首先让行业部门装上空气质量测量装置的。阿加瓦尔说,“当时政府就应该表明没有公司会因为这些数据而遭到起诉”。而国家污染防治委员会的角色也逐渐由科学性职能向检察职能转变。

Companies in 17 sectors that have to install CM units send this data directlyto pollution control boards. Data fudging is endemic. "Companies areinstalling these machines only to meet statutory requirements," says amanager at Chemtrols, a distributor and installer of CM units, not wanting tobe named. "90 per cent of them are fabricating data, not so much on SO2and CO2 but on particulate matter."

必须安装连续监测单位设备的17个行业的公司将数据直接汇报给了污染防治委员会,捏造数据现象极为普遍。Chemtrols公司一名不愿透露姓名的管理人员说, “公司安装这些设备只是为了应付法令要求,90%的公司会捏造数据,这种情况不常见于上报的SO2和CO2数据,主要是颗粒物数据的捏造”。

Cherry Picking

随机抽取

A senior CPCB official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, admits industryis setting up units only to meet regulatory requirements. "Theirmaintenance, calibration, operation and data generation are all concerns,"he adds. "I don't trust the SPCB data either. It is possible they arebuying very cheap machines for their air-quality studies."

中央污染控制委员会一名不愿透露姓名的年长官员承认,业内公司装置设备只是为了应付管理的要求。他还说,“他们的维护、校准、运营和数据生成都是关注点,我也不相信国家污染防治委员会发布的数据,他们可能购买了廉价仪器来进行空气质量研究”。

However, he says, tighter control isexercised in the joint studies done in 270 locations by CPCB and SPCBs."We define the investments, the chemicals to be used and theprocess." Agrees a former CPCB official: "Apart from SPCBs and CPCB,no one is using Whatman, the brand said to be the best in particulate filterpaper. Even the SPCBs are using Whatman only when collecting data forCPCB."

他说,然而,中央污染控制委员会和国家污染防治委员会联合对270个地方展开研究的时候采用了更加严格的方式,“我们明确了投资数目、使用的化学品和研究过程”。中央污染控制委员会的一名前任官员同意他的说法:“除了中央污染控制委员会和国家污染防治委员会,没有机构会使用高级绘画纸沃特曼(Whatman),这是微粒过滤纸中最好的品牌。国家污染防治委员也只有在为中央污染控制委员会搜集数据的时候才会用到这种品牌的纸”。

However, there are severe gaps in the joint CPCBSPCB data as well, which iscollected through manual monitoring.

但即使中央污染控制委员会和国家污染防治委员会合作公布的数据也存在显著的差距,因为数据是由人工监测的。

For one, how diligently is this data collected? "For even manualmonitoring to work, calibration is very important," says a former member-secretaryof CPCB. "In most cases, these stations are manned by a daily wager. It isnot clear if they followed the stipulated process."

一方面,采集数据的细致度。中央污染控制委员会的一名前任秘书说,“即使是人工监测,校准是很重要的。但在大多数情况下,这些站点配备的人员是日结工,他们是否有按照规定的程序来就不清楚了”。

Besides manual monitoring, CPCB also runs CM stations, on its own in Delhi and with SPCBselsewhere. Most are in state capitals. Even there, the location is sometimesbaffling.

除了安排人工监测外,中央污染控制委员会还运营着连续监测站点并与国家污染防治委员会在其他地方有合作关系。大多数站点位于国家的省会城市,地点有时也让人感到困惑。

Location can mislead in fundamental ways.For instance, a January 2012 CPCB report announced a "decline in SO2levels" between 2001 and 2010. But, in 2010, Indiabecame the world's second largest emitter of SO2, after China,according to a paper published in the journal, Environmental Science andTechnology. Using data captured by a NASA satellite, the paper says emissionsof SO2 from Indian power plants have increased 71 per cent between 2005 and2012.

地点有根本性的误导作用。例如,中央污染控制委员会在2012年1月份发布报告称2001年至2010年期间“排放的SO2水平下降”,但根据发表在《环境科学与技术》杂志上的一篇论文,2010年印度成为紧随中国之后的世界第二大SO2排放国。这篇论文引用美国国家航空和宇宙航行局通过卫星获得的数据称,印度发电厂排放的SO2总量在2005年至2012年期间上升了71%。

The siting of the CPCB stations explains this contradiction, says Sarath Guttikunda,an independent researcher at Urban Emissions.info. The CPCB number is based on361 monitoring stations, most of which are in urban areas where regulations,like switching to cleaner fuels like CNG, have made a difference.

城市排放物信息中心独立研究员SarathGuttikunda称,中央污染控制委员的选址就解释了这种不一致。中央污染控制委员公布的数据是基于361个监测站点得到的数据,这些站点多在城市地区,这里的监测规则已经发生了变化,比如监测对象转向了压缩天然气这种更为清洁的燃料。

It gets worse. While data is collected for 12 pollutants in a few big cities,in the rest of India,data is collected for far fewer, like PM 10, NO2, SO2. A CPCB official advancedtwo reasons: no facility with SPCBs to undertake other studies and limitedresources. "We need to prioritise," he says. "We focus on biggercities as we know polluting processes are certainly present here." But theSO2 contradiction reveals the flaw in this approach.

更糟糕的是,虽然要搜集的是几大城市排放的12种污染物的数据,但印度其他地方采集的数据种类远没有这么多,只采集了PM 10, NO2, SO2的数据。中央污染控制委员的一名官员提出了两个原因:中央污染控制委员没有其他设备来从事其他研究,还有就是资源有限。他说,“我们需要将事情优先化,我们关注较大城市是因为我们知道这里会有现成的污染流程”。但SO2数据的冲突就暴露了这种做法的缺陷。

National averages that override local numbers are also dangerous. Says Agarwal:"In places where coal is mined, you will have metals like mercury. Butthose are not measured there." Over 30 years have lapsed since the passageof the Air Act, which was passed in 1981 to protect air quality, and India's airquality remains a public health hazard.

国家平均值将地方数值覆盖也是危险的做法。阿加瓦尔说:“在采矿的地方会有水银这类金属,但这些释放元素就不在监测范围之列。”自1981年通过《空气法案》已经有30年了,但印度的空气质量仍危害着公众的健康。

How do we improve air-quality monitoring? Ask officials of the apex pollutionagency, and they talk about widening coverage. In the next two years, theCentral Pollution Control Board (CPCB) plans to set up continuous monitoring(CM) units in all critically-polluted towns and in 46 cities/towns with amillion-plus population. "It will help us cross-check what industry tellsus," says a senior CPCB official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.This is an incomplete solution.

要如何提高空气质量检测水平?污染机构的官员提出疑问,他们谈到要扩大检测范围。在未来2年,中央污染防治委员会将在所有重污染城镇和46个有上百万人口的城镇设立持续监测单位设备。中央污染控制委员会一名不愿透露姓名的年长官员说,“这将有助于我们反复核对行业公司上报的数据”。解决方法还有待完善。

Set An Air-Quality Protocol

颁布空气质量草案

Even 30 years after the passage of the Air Act, India lacks protocols forair-quality monitoring. The US,the EU and Chinado, tailored to their obxtives and circumstances. "They define what willbe measured and the methodologies that will be used," says a former CPCBofficial who now has his own environmental consultancy. "The instrumentsare standardised and correctly calibrated." India, by comparison, tellscompanies to follow US EPA standards. "We cannot have pollution standardsonly for what has been studied by the EPA," says the official quotedabove. "India'spollution burden is different."

即使《空气法》已经通过30年了,印度仍缺乏监测空气质量的条款。美国、欧盟和中国就有根据具体目标和情况制定的条款,一名现在自己拥有环境咨询公司的中央污染控制委员会前任官员说,“他们明确了监测对象和将采用的监测方法,他们的仪器符合标准且标度准确”。相比之下,印度则要求各公司遵循美国环境保护局的标准,这名官员说,“我们不能将美国环境保护局研究所得的污染标准揽为己用,印度的环境污染负荷有别于他们”。

By aping the US, India ends upwith irrelevant norms. Take PM 10. As a tropical country, India has farmore dust than the West. When we began importing CM units, it found thosecouldn't handle local conditions. Imported samplers, says a researcher at theNational Physical Laboratory in Delhi,"only work between 25 and 35 degrees".

仿照美国的标准,印度得到了不切实际的数据。以PM 10为例,作为热带国家,印度空气中的粉尘多于西方国家,我们开始引进持续监测单位技术时就发现这项技术不适用于当地情况。德里国家物理实验室的一名研究员说,“这种技术只能在25度至35度之间的温度下才能发挥作用”。

Also, they need 16.6 cu m of air flowing infor eight hours. But there is so much dust in India that the intake chokes,airflow comes down to 10 or so cu m, and the machine stops working after threehours. "Then, that reading is not valid," says the researcher."We should change them to a different setting where the data is collectedfor a smaller length of time. But for that, we need a scientific methodologythat can be used in India."

还有就是,持续监测单位技术仪器要求持续8小时16.6立方米的进气量。但印度空气中的粉尘量足以堵住进气管,进气量因此减少到10立方米左右,且仪器工作3小时就会停下来。这名研究员说,“如此一来,读数就是无效的。我们应当根据环境改进这项技术,缩短获得数据所用的时间,但是要做的这点,我们需要找到适用于印度的科学方法”。

here is a failure of the researchestablishment here. "The Air Act was passed in 1981. Since then, where isthe work to set safety norms on exposure to pollutants?" asks the formerCPCB official. "On testing methodologies? On betterinstruments?"

印度的科研中心并未取得成绩。中央污染控制委员会一名前任官员问道,“1981年《空气法案》获得通过,从那以后有见过该中心为设立安全标准作过的任何努力吗?在测量方法抑或是提升仪器方面作过努力?”

Act On The Data

数据处理

At the same time, the data generated by the CM systems is not being used."There are about 150-odd systems providing data to CPCB, but no one isanalysing that data," says a senior manager with a company that sellsthese. For example, for a month now, CPCB data on Patna's air quality is throwingup a reading of minus 46 for Ozone. There can be zero ozone, but negativeozone is impossible.

于此同时,连续监测系统获得的数据并没有被使用。一家售卖这类仪器的公司的高级经理人说,“有150多个系统为中央污染控制委员会提供数据,但并没有人分析这些数据”。例如,一个月来,中央污染控制委员会得到巴特那的臭氧浓度数值是负46,臭氧浓度数值可以为零,但负值是不可能存在的。

Set Local, Not National, Norms

设定地方标准,而非国家标准

Time was when Indiahad different emission norms for industrial, residential and sensitive areas.It also had air pollution control areas: extremely polluted or getting there.These were noble thoughts, says Rakesh Agarwal of Envirotech. "The ideawas to keep some areas pristine." However, both ideas went nowhere. TheSPCBs either declared entire states as control areas or declared only the worstplaces as such. The rest of their domain was left as mixed use. The Centre thennotified a single air quality standard.

印度曾经也针对工业区、居民区和敏感区制定了不同的排放标准,印度也有大气污染控制区:重污染区或触线区。曾经有过这些宏伟的想法,环境技术公司的阿加瓦尔说,“这个理念的意图是保持一些地区的清洁环境”。然而,这些想法都不知所终。国家污染防治委员会不是把整个邦宣布为控制区就是把污染最严重的地方宣布为控制区,而其他区域就是情况复杂区。该委员会之后就公布了单一的空气质量标准。

This has created an outcome where industry, instead of investing to checkemissions, looks for clean places. "This is the game of system permissibledeterioration," says Agarwal. If the permitted pollution load is 230, andit is already at 200, the SPCB will tell any new company that comes in toensure its emissions do not take the cumulative score beyond 205. Which meansit gets more expensive for industry to set up operations there." So, hesays, "Industry moves to a cleaner place and tells the SPCB, 'Yourpollution score is just 10. Even if I set up here, your pollution load will notgo beyond the permissible level'." The outcome is the democratisation ofpollution.

这就导致产业转而寻找环境更好的厂址而不愿意投入成本检查排放量。阿加瓦尔说,“这是制度允许的恶化环境举动。如果一个地方允许的污染负荷是230,而污染负荷已经达到200时,国家污染防治委员会会告知新进驻本地的公司确保将排放量控制在205以内,这意味着该公司在哪里的运营成本会更高。”所以,他说,“产业公司就会到环境更好的地方选址,然后对国家污染防治委员会说,‘你们的污染指数是10,即使选址在原来的地方,污染负荷也不会超过允许水平’”。结果,污染范围就这样扩大了。